It's never easy, but it doesn't have to be so messy.
Would you like to organize your life as a working mom and stay not only in the game but ahead of the chaos?
It seems daunting but it is possible, even for working moms! And wouldn’t it feel great?
Here are 5 organizing tips and suggestions for making it all happen.
1. Use a calendar and make a schedule.
The most important part of an organized life is a calendar and a schedule.
I have a client who, every Sunday night, sits down with her calendar and charts out everything that is happening in the week ahead.
What do I mean by everything?
- Her work schedule
- Her kids’ schedule
- Any appointments that her family might have
- Time for herself
- Time for her and her spouse
- Time spent on social media
- Anything else that might need to be accounted for
Once she makes her schedule, she underlines in red those things that are priorities and cannot be moved.
As the week progresses she looks at her calendar daily to adjust it as necessary but if something must get moved, it gets moved immediately so that it doesn’t fall off her calendar and get forgotten.
She makes her calendar, she keeps it with her, she updates it regularly and makes it the blueprint of her life.
2. Stick to your schedule, no matter what happens at work.
The most important part of having a calendar is sticking to it. And I know, as a working mom, that can be very hard to do.
One thing I ask my clients: what is the one thing in your life that everything else revolves around? What is that one non-negotiable thing on your calendar?
Almost without exception, my clients answer "work". They say that because they are reporting to a boss and getting paid for it, they will sacrifice other things that might be a part of their week if work demands dictate that they do.
Is this you? Do you choose to work instead of meeting your other obligations?
If so, consider this: can you view some other things in your week — like your time or time with your spouse — as things that are as important as work and that you will not put aside for any reason.
Can you do this in spite of the fact that you aren’t getting paid and reporting to someone else?
This is the key to organizing your life as a working mom and staying ahead of the chaos. To understand that some obligations are as non-negotiable as work and that putting them to the side just can’t happen.
3. Plan meals ahead of time.
A huge part of staying organized is planning and making meals ahead of time.
I remember, when my kids were young, deciding what to make every night was the hardest part of my day. I always felt that if someone else told me what to cook, making it would be easy. It was the deciding that was hard.
I suggest making a meal plan for the whole week, including lunches, over breakfast on Sunday morning. And from that meal plan make your shopping list so that you have all of the ingredients that you need for the week.
Ideally, you then get your partner to go to the grocery store but that is negotiable!
If you plan your menus ahead of time and do the shopping as well, you will carve out a big piece of your day, every day, to get other things done.
4. Get help.
It is essential for working moms to get help where they need it. Some moms need help keeping the house clean or cooking dinner or taking the kids to appointments. So if you need it, get it! Find someone to help you clean or cook or drive.
It’s really okay to not do everything yourself.
If a babysitter or a cleaning lady is not in your budget, figure out some other way to get help. Your partner and your kids are the most obvious first choices in the help department. They can all help with the cooking and the cleaning and the chauffeuring. They may complain but they can do it!
You can also call on your friends to support you and you can support them as well. When my kids were young, the moms all took turns after school taking the kids to various activities. Each of us committed 1 day a week to being the driver, leaving the other 4 days after school open for work or other things.
Either way, you working moms don't have to do everything yourselves. Ask for help. You will be glad you did.
5. Build in time for you.
Believe it or not, this is the most important piece of how to organize your life as a working mom.
Everyone needs time to themselves. EVERYONE. Just because you are a working mom it doesn’t mean that you get to sacrifice your mental health for the sake of everyone else.
As a matter of fact, doing so is not good for anyone and will definitely make it difficult to stay ahead of the chaos. Remember the old adage: "A happy mom means a happy family." It’s truer now than ever.
So make an effort every week to build some ‘you time’ into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. A few minutes in the morning before everyone wakes up. A 20-minute walk outside at lunchtime. A few minutes of social media as you wait to pick up the kids from school.
When my kids were little, 3 nights a week were nights when I took a bath. For 45 minutes I was in my bathtub with my People magazine and the door was locked and I had ‘me time’. My husband dealt with whatever had to be dealt with. That time life-changing for me. I was able to take a deep breath and then step back into my life refreshed.
I am guessing that you are eager to organize your life as a working mom. You might feel like you are constantly treading water, just keeping your head up to keep from drowning.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Get a calendar, make a schedule, stick to it, plan ahead, ask for help and take care of yourself along the way.
The chaos will always be out there…how you manage it will help you stay ahead of it.
Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington Post, Prevention Magazine, The Good Man Project, among others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Looking for more ways to organize your life as a working mom? Contact her NOW.